Diet and Autism: Part One

March 01, 2018

At Pinnacle Autism Therapy, we provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and the sooner your child is diagnosed with Autism and begins one of our therapy programs such as The Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program, Social Skills Program, or Behavioral Services Program, the more the therapies can be rooted and give the brain and its neural pathways a nudge to help guide them from away faulty pathways. You can read this article about early autism intervention.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you’re likely combing the internet and libraries in search of information that can provide any type of relief. Oftentimes in children with autism, they’re more likely to exhibit disadvantageous behavioral issues because, while their sensory system is being overloaded with intrusive sights, sounds, and textures — their ability to cope is underdeveloped. So, needless to say, trying to adjust their diet can be a huge battle.

Why change the diet in my autistic child?

Nutrition is one of the most effective variables you can modify when it comes to your health. The beautiful thing about food is its fluidity to therapeutically function and cater to the individual. Some people may be sensitive to nightshades such as tomatoes or peppers and that in turn can cause inflammation and trigger a response that impacts their joints. Simply by eliminating nightshades can do wonders for their health! The same concept surrounds altering the diet of children with autism and it has been widely reported that behavior improves with a few changes. A gluten free and casein free (dairy free) diet is recommended. Gluten is the protein primarily found in wheat, barley, and rye and casein is a protein found in most dairy products.

Does the GFCF diet work in autistic children?

Research in this area needs to be expanded upon and replicated, but hopeful evidence has surfaced. It has been reported that children ages four through 11 have shown significant improvements when switched to the GFCF diet after strictly abiding to it for eight, 12, and 24 months. In the study behavioral issues such as temper tantrums, hyperactivity, motor skills, and physical health issues (rashes, seizures, etc) decreased.

The therapeutic pathway the GFCF diet follows that helps in autistic issues, is the theory that children with autism have trouble breaking down the proteins, and as a result, gut permeability increases causing leaky gut syndrome. These undigested proteins then leak through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, the particles travel to the brain leading to social and behavioral issues.

What does the GFCF diet entail?

The important part of transitioning your autistic child to the GFCF diet, is consistency. This evolution will be challenging, especially if you have a picky eater on hand. The great part of this diet is, compared to even ten years ago, the availability of these foods in grocery stores is much higher with many more choices. You will, however, have to fully commit to a GFCF diet, as it has been reported that children who strayed from this diet once every month displayed fewer improvements than those children who strayed two or less times throughout the year.

There is so much more to cover on the GFCF diet, so stay tuned for part two!

For more information on our ABA therapies, contact us at Pinnacle Autism Today!

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